Neuropsychological sequelae of patients treated with microsurgical clipping or endovascular embolization for anterior communicating artery aneurysm

Eur Neurol. 2002;47(1):37-44. doi: 10.1159/000047945.


Background and purpose: While microsurgical clipping has been the choice of treatment for anterior communicating artery (ACoA) aneurysm, endovascular embolization is increasingly popular for treating intracranial aneurysms. Previous studies showed that in terms of mortality (i.e., death) and morbidity (i.e., functional outcome, independent living, rebleeding) rates, the clinical outcomes of coil embolization for intracranial aneurysms are as good as or even better than those of surgical clipping. However, little is known about the impact of these treatments on the cognitive functions of those survived after the treatment. Thus, the present study is designed to examine the cognitive deficits of patients treated with either surgical clipping or coil embolization.

Method: Eighteen patients with a ruptured ACoA aneurysm were recruited. Half of them had undergone surgical clipping and the other half had endovascular embolization. Standardized neuropsychological tests were employed to assess their memory, executive function, motor ability, language and visual perceptual abilities.

Results: The performance of the patients was in general poorer than that of the normal control subjects on tests of verbal memory, flexible thinking, ability to resist interference and motor control. However, in terms of severity, the patients who received surgical clipping demonstrated more severe impairment than those had endovascular embolization on these cognitive domains. In addition, while 33% of patients in the clipping group showed impairments on memory and executive function, no patient in the embolization group demonstrated these impairments.

Conclusions: Patients with ACoA aneurysm demonstrated impaired verbal memory, executive function and motor abilities while their language and visual perception abilities remained relatively intact. However, when comparing the effect of treatment choice on the cognitive functions of these patients, the present results favored the coil embolization as the patients treated with coil embolization demonstrated significantly fewer severe cognitive deficits than patients who had undergone surgical clipping.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aneurysm, Ruptured / surgery*
  • Cognition Disorders / etiology
  • Embolization, Therapeutic / adverse effects*
  • Humans
  • Intracranial Aneurysm / surgery*
  • Memory Disorders / etiology
  • Mental Disorders / etiology*
  • Microsurgery / adverse effects*
  • Middle Aged
  • Movement Disorders / etiology
  • Nervous System Diseases / etiology*
  • Neuropsychological Tests